Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, which mostly follows Rocket Raccoon’s backstory and the group’s fight against the High Evolutionary, is definitely on its way to becoming one of the best of the MCU. The film barely premiered, but it has proved once again that this superteam is one of the best out there.
Star-Lord, Rocket, and Nebula have become fan favorites. However, casual MCU fans know very little about their backstory in the comics. These characters debuted a while ago in different comics. While some have very similar stories to their MCU counterparts, others are quite different.
Spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 ahead.
10 Adam Warlock
Fantastic Four #66-67 (1967) by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Adam Warlock finally joined the MCU, portrayed by Will Poulter. One of the newest Guardians of the Galaxy members, he was created by the Sovereign, but the High Evolutionary pulled him out of his cocoon too soon, so he’s a bit like a kid. The film initially pits him against the Guardians but has him join them by the end.
He debuted in comics in Fantastic Four #66-67, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, in June 1967. Like in the film, he was created artificially, this time by the Enclave. In this comic, he’s mostly a Frankenstein-like monster that his creators want to destroy. It wasn’t until MarvelPremiere #1, by Roy Thomas and Gil Kane, that he was known as Adam Warlock.
Nova #8 (2007) by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellington Alves, Scott Hana, Guru-eFX, and Cory Petit
A female Labrador with psionic abilities, Cosmo was sent into space by the Russians in the ’60s. She was found by the Collector and spent years as part of his personal collection. When the Guardians went against him, they rescued her too, so she became a team member.
Cosmo’s origin story in the comics is just like in the films. However, it wasn’t laid out during her debut. In Nova #8, Cosmo only appeared as a telepathic dog and an ally for Nova, who helped him to find Worldmind’s location. It wasn’t until Guardians of the Galaxy #1 that she revealed her origin as an experiment at the Soviet Space Program (СССР).
8 Kraglin Obfonteri
Tales to Astonish #46 (1963), by Stan Lee, H.E. Huntley, Don Heck, and Sam Rosen
Originally a member of Yondu’s Ravagers, Kraglin was usually the punchline of the gang’s jokes for his dim-witter attitude. However, he was always incredibly loyal. After Yondu’s death, Kraglin became the owner of the Yaka Arrow, one of the strongest weapons in the MCU.
Now that he learned how to use the Yaka Arrow, Kraglin has become a true hero. However, when he debuted in the comics, he was a villain. Tales to Astonish #46 sees him as one of the A-Chiltarians who attempted to invade Earth. He didn’t join Yondu’s Ravagers until All-New Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1 in 2017.
Annihilation: Conquest – Starlord #1 (2007) by Keith Giffen, Timothy Green II, Victor Olazba, Nathan Fairbairn, and Russ Wooton
A Flora colossus from Planet X, Groot’s popularity skyrocketed after he became Baby Groot. However, he earned the MCU fans’ hearts from the moment he debuted. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 features an adult Groot, working with the Guardians to save Rocket, his best friend.
Groot appeared in comics for the first time in Annihilation: Conquest – Starlord #1. During this storyline, he left jail with Rocket Raccoon, only to end up in the conflict between Star-Lord and Phalanx. Groot actually sacrificed himself twice to help Star-Lord and defeat this villainous race.
Avengers #112 (1973) by Steve Englehart, Don Heck, Frank Bolle, Petra Goldberg, and John Constanza
Peter Quill’s sister and Ego’s former caretaker, Mantis, is an empath with the ability to sense and change others’ emotions. Mantis was mostly the punchline of many jokes when she first joined the Guardians due to her naïveté. Vol. 3 showed her as a more assertive hero. By the end of the film, she chooses to follow her own path, far from the team.
In the comics, Mantis is not a “bimbo,” which made her one of the worst MCU adaptations. She debuted in Avengers #112 but only as a supporting character. The following issues outline her origin story as a Kree-trained girl who is set to become the Celestial Madonna.
Avengers #257 (1985) by Roger Stern, John Buscema, Tom Palmer, Christie Scheele, and Jim Novak
Like Gamora, Nebula is one of Thanos’ adoptive daughters. A member of the Luphomoids, she was abused by the Mad Titan, who trained her as an assassin and replaced her body with gadgets every time she lost to Gamora in battle. Given this, she resented her sister for years.
Nebula debuted in Avengers #257. This comic sees her attempts to conquer the Skrull Empire before Captain Marvel thwarts them. Like in the MCU, she played an important role during the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, even wielding it briefly until Adam Warlock took it from her.
4 Drax The Destroyer
Iron Man #55 (1972) by Jim Starlin, Mike Friedrich, Mike Esposito, and John Constanza
Drax the Destroyer first appeared in comics as Iron Man’s ally, becoming central in a low-stakes battle against Thanos and the Blood Brothers. His actual backstory wasn’t published until two years later, in 1974, in Captain Marvel #32: a regular human once, Arthur Douglas, lost his wife and daughter to Thanos. After this, Drax swore to avenge them.
In the MCU, Drax’s backstory is similar, but not identical. For starters, he isn’t human. Instead, he’s Kylosian. Besides, he lost his wife and daughter to Ronan the Accuser, not Thanos. Yet, despite this tragic backstory, Drax is considered one of the funniest characters in the MCU.
Strange Tales #180 (1975) by Jim Starlin, Alan Weiss, and Tom Orzechowski
One of the founding members of the MCU Guardians of the Galaxy, Gamora, died in Thanos’ hands as he was trying to get the Soul Stone in Vormir. After this, an alternate version found her way into the present. Vol. 3 resumes her story. Now, living as a Ravager, she is still trying to find a way to co-exist with her former teammates, especially Peter.
Considered “the most dangerous woman in the galaxy,” Gamora is as fierce in the comics as in the MCU. This heroine debuted in Strange Tales #180. This comic sees her team up with Adam Warlock to defeat the Magus. Although, she’s only a supporting character here. Gamora’s actual backstory was published in parts in future series, such as Gamora or Warlock.
2 Rocket Raccoon
Incredible Hulk #271 (1982) by Bill Mantlo, Sal Buscema, Bob Sharen, and Jim Novak
After two films barely discussing Rocket Raccoon’s background, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 focuses on the gutting hero’s backstory as a High Evolutionary experiment. Through flashbacks, the film shows his friendship with other experiments and how the villain manipulated him and eventually discarded him.
This heartbreaking backstory doesn’t come from the comics. In the books, Rocket comes from Halfworld, a planet where scientists turned animals sentient. Regardless, Rocket didn’t appear for the first time in a story about himself. Instead, he appeared in Incredible Hulk #271, where he teamed up with the Jade Giant after he ended up stranded on Halfworld.
Thanos #8 (2004) by Keith Giffen, Ron Lim, Al Milgrom, Christie Scheele, Krista Ward, and Dave Sharpe
The original leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy, Peter Quill, gave Rocket Raccoon team leadership by the end of Vol. 3, and went back to Earth to meet his grandfather. Since the film is James Gunn’s swan song in the MCU, fans are relieved he didn’t die, but they still hate to know he won’t be as central as he was to the team.
Quill, also known as Star-Lord, appeared in black-and-white stories created by Steve Englehart in the ’70s, acting as a sci-fi hero. He debuted in comics in 2004. Thanos #8 sees him in jail after a fight against the Fallen One. Here, Nova frees him, which puts him on the path to becoming the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy.
NEXT: 10 Funniest Star-Lord Quotes In The MCU
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